which hath been held Time out of Mind, and are confirmed by divers Acts of Parliament. The Government of these Courts is in the Lord Maior and Court of Aldermen: who are a Court of Record and Conservators of the Rights and Franchises of the said City, and are sworn to maintain and uphold the same. The said Courts of Wardmote are held by the Lord Maiors, Stewards thereof, or by their Deputies: And all Returns of Officers chosen, and other Matters, which concern the Government of the said City, transacted in the said Courts of Wardmotes, are always made to the Court of Aldermen on St Thomas Day; who have Cognizance thereof, by ancient Usage confirmed by the Act of Parliament for restoring the City Charter.

The Aldermen of each respective Ward were chosen by the Inhabitants of the same, paying Scot, and bearing Lot, which by some late Acts of the Common Council is restrained to Freemen only. In two late Elections of Aldermen in the Ward of Broadstreet and Langborn, the said Lord Maior for the Time being, held the Wardmotes, and took the Polls, and Scrutinies, and made Returns of the Persons, whom he apprehended to be duely elected, to the Court of Aldermen. And no complaint being made to the said Court of an undue Election, Mr. Conyers was admitted, and sworn an Alderman for the Ward of Broadstreet: And Mr. Delme for the Ward of Langborn by the said Court, according to the ancient Custom and Usage.

See the Precept to the Aldermen from the Lord Maior.

Some short Time after, the other Candidates in the said Elections, finding themselves disappointed; and depending upon their Interest in the Court of Common Council, and being resolved to make it a Party-Cause, applyed themselves to the said Court, and obtained an Order to commence Suits in the Queen's Bench Court at Westminster, against the said Mr. Conyers and Mr. Delme: And the said Court of Common Council appointed a Committee of their own Members to prosecute the same: and ordered Monies out of the Chamber of London, to carry on such Prosecution. And the said Committee have caused several vexatious Suits to be commenced in the Queen's Courts at Westminster against the same Mr. Conyers and Mr. Delme: And have applyed great Sums of Money, which they received by Vertue of the same Order, for carrying on the same, to the Damage and Oppression of Mr. Conyers and Mr. Delme.

The said Mr. Conyers and Mr. Delme, being returned, admitted and sworn according to the ancient Custom and Usage of the said City, and no Complaint or Objections being brought to the Court of Aldermen of any undue Election in the said Wards, 'tis presumed the Acts of the said Court in Admission of the said Aldermen is conclusive; and the Matters in question in the Suits brought, being touching the Right to the Title of the said Office of an Alderman, which being for Life is a Freehold within the Purview of the Laws of this Kingdom; Whether any Person, or Persons, who are not immediately concerned in Interest in the said Freehold, who shall concern themselves in the Prosecutions of such Suits, by the Application of Money, or otherwise, for carrying on the same, are not within the Statutes of Maintenance; and may not be prosecuted by Indictments, or by Information in the Crown-Office for the same; Notwithstanding any Orders of the Common Council for that Purpose.


The Court of Common Council, as now constituted, is but of a late standing. By ancient Custom and Usage the Members were summoned by the Lord Maiors and Court of Aldermen out of the several Companies and Mysteries; to advise with, and make Ordinances, as Occasion offered: And at other Times, out of the several Wards, for the same Purposes: but without any certain Number. Their Qualifications and Number, as is presumed, depended upon the Discretion of the Lord Maiors and Courts of Aldermen. And their Business was chiefly to advise about the Revenues and Common Welfare of the City. Their very Stile and Oath import so much. The Oath they take is to this Effect following: viz. "To give good and true Counsel in all things touching the Common Welfare of this City, after their Wit and Cunning: And that for favour of any Person, they will maintain no Singular Profit against the Common Profit of this City."

Common Council, What?

Tho' the present Settlement of the Common Council differs, as to the Choice and Number, from what it did formerly; it doth not appear that they have acquired any new Authority.

Whether their late By-Laws for altering the ancient Custom and Usage in the Wardmotes, confirmed by Parliament, in the Election of Aldermen, and taking away the Right of Unfreemen, being Inhabitants in the said Wards, paying Scot, and bearing Lot, at the Time of Elections, be not void in it self, and no ways binding to her Majesty's Subjects in such Wards; whose ancient Rights are invaded thereby.


The Tryal of this Case (by the Resolution of the Common Council) cost the City some Thousands of Pounds: and the two Aldermen Elect as much. And the Matter at last sunk.

But this Expence was complained of in the House of Lords, sitting Anno Dom. 1719. Apr. when the said House received the Report of the Committee appointed to examine into the many Sums of Money which had been issued out of the City Cash, for carrying on Causes and Suits at Law, relating to the Elections of Aldermen and Common Council Men: which begun in the Year 1711. By which it appears that 2827l. 10s. had been expended in such kind of Suits and Prosecutions. Which the Lords having debated, resolved, "That the Common Councils of London having issued great Sums of Money out of the Chamber of London, in maintaining several Suits of Law between Citizen and Citizen, relating to controverted Elections, have abused their Trust, been guilty of great Partiality, and of a gross Mismanagement of the City Treasure, and a Violation of the Freedom of Elections!]"

These Suits and Expences complained of in Parliament.

But now to go on with the ancient Customs, as I have taken them out of the Records of London.

Concerning the Aldermens Courts, called WARDMOTES.


A WARDMOTE is the Assembly of the whole People of one Ward summoned, the Alderman the Head being present, or his Deputy, for correcting the Defects, removing the Annoyances, and promoting the Commodities of the same Ward.

Wardmote, What?

Lib. Alb.

J. S.

Wardmote is as much as Plibiscitum among the Romans, and Folkesmote among the Saxons.

The Alderman was wont once, twice or more times in the Year, by Vertue of a Warrant from the Maior directed to him, to hold his Wardmote. In which he was wont to inquire of the State and Quiet of the said Ward, and to present the Defects to be corrected by the Alderman.

What was done at Wardmotes.

The Choosing of an Alderman.


IN choosing of an Alderman, [according to ancient Custom] the Maior was wont to go to the Ward which was vacant, and in the Place where the Wardmote of that Ward was held, there calling before him, if he would, by the Bedel, all the Freemen inhabiting that Ward: And there an Alder-

What was done, a Ward being Vacant.